Release date:
March 10, 2023
Buy vinyl:

Songs of Pain is the first album by folk singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston, recorded on a simple tape recorder and released on Compact Cassette. This is the album's first time being pressed on vinyl. Back in the early 1980s, when the punk-rock DIY spirit was going strong, emerging artists found a cheap and efficient way of distributing their music--the homemade cassette. Sometimes very crude and low-fi, the tapes became a hallmark of instant "indie cred." The erratic, troubled, and startlingly talented Daniel Johnston was one of the first musicians to really make a name for himself in this medium, and his first two tapes, 1980's Songs of Pain and '81's More Songs of Pain make up this collection, re-mixed but retaining their rough edges. The anger and sadness of "An Idiot's End," the wry twist of "Joy Without Pleasure," and the resignation of "More Dead Than Alive" exemplify the genius of his carefully chosen words. His lyrics can sting as well as delight, and his piano playing resonates with emotional depth. Hearing these songs makes one long to hear Beck doing a rendition of "Urge" or Johnny Cash taking on "Wild West Virginia." --Lorry Fleming

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